Monday, 18 April 2016


The select committee investigation on 'Future Flood Prevention' was televised today. The Environment Agency, is being taken to task on dredging, maintenance, performance and planning. An item that was pushed by the Chairman. Was a lack of transparency of the maintenance performance and maintenance spend.

Another item that caught my attention was the proposed devolution of river management. No mention of a CaRT role beyond de-maining. It came as no surprise to anyone that de-maining was almost dismissed out of hand as an option by the chair to the obvious discomfort of Defra the EA!

De-maining is when the lower reaches of rivers are handed over to one or more operating authorities to operate and maintain them. Whilst at the same time the EA keep their designation for the upper reaches because of the need to manage flood risk.

Cognisance of the floods in the north were alluded to. However, the EA emphasised that there was now a real change of ethos away from the previous large engineering flood containment projects. To creating/recreating flood meadow areas where flash flood water could be held/absorbed. 
The preferred river management route was highlighted to be with the involvement of land owners, local authorities, the Association of Drainage authorities and Countryside Stewardship. The EA was also looking at purchasing large areas of farm land. Especially where land owners were reluctant to farm land that was also set aside as a flood management capture area. The preferred environmental option now being to store water on the land.

What does this mean for the future extending of CaRT's remit. Well its been a few years since the minister put in place a moratorium on the transfer of any of the EA waters. De-maining is now a government no no, and the EA has had to embrace a significant change of direction.

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